Daniil Medvedev may not be commonly associated with clay-court prowess, but the World No. 2 is fit and raring to go as he arrives at Roland Garros looking to back up his quarter-final run from a year ago.
“I love the French Open,” said the second seed in his pre-tournament press conference. “I have had some tough moments in terms of results, [but] last year, even though we didn’t have much of a crowd, we had some atmosphere and I loved it. I played well.
“It is a pleasure being here this year, and we might have a full crowd. I’m really happy to be here. I love playing in France.”
Prior to his run to the last eight in Paris a year ago, when he defeated Alexander Bublik, Tommy Paul, Reilly Opelka and Cristian Garin before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Medvedev had not won a match at Roland Garros in four previous attempts. He has lifted a trophy in the French capital before, however, having won the Rolex Paris Masters in 2020, and Medvedev believes there is no reason he cannot perform strongly on the outdoor clay in the country he calls home.
“I was asked about my lack of achievements in France, but [that has] changed because I managed to win in Bercy,” explained Medvedev. “So I have some expectations for this tournament.”
Daniil Medvedev faces Argentine Facundo Bagnis in his opening match in Paris, where he sits in the opposite half of the draw to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. The second seed sees the potential of meeting one of the strongest clay-courters later in the tournament as extra motivation for a deep run in the French capital.
“It’s good from one side to have them on the other side of the draw,” said Medvedev. “At the same time, even more than other tournaments, I have to focus on myself. [There are] a lot of good clay court players. I’m playing one of them in the first round. I need to prepare for this one and I’m going to take it match by match.
“If I manage to meet one of [Djokovic, Nadal or Alcaraz] in the draw, it means I made a good tournament. So hopefully I can see one of them in the second week.”
Having started the year with a strong 16-4 record that included a run to the Australian Open final in January, Medvedev’s season was disrupted by a hernia procedure that meant he did not play on clay until last week’s Gonet Geneva Open, where he fell to a fifth defeat of the year against Richard Gasquet in his opening match. Despite that result, the four-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist is happy with how his recovery post-surgery has gone.
“I was playing with it for a while,” said Medvedev. “It’s tough to know if it bothered me or not because it was never painful…I wanted to find the best moment to do it, in terms of where you don’t go too far playing with an injury, because that’s when the recovery can go longer, and the consequences can be harsher.
“I’m happy I’m back, because I heard it can take on average six weeks to come back to play in tennis, but maybe more. For me, it was four weeks where I took the racquet and started playing tennis. I never really felt pain.”
Daniil Medvedev even believes the enforced break may help him in both his Roland Garros bid and his hunt for the success for the rest of 2022.
“I was coming back step by step,” said the 26-year-old. “Geneva actually was the six weeks where I should have just taken the racquet, but I was already playing a match. Physically, I’m feeling good, ready to play five sets.
“I took this time to really refresh the batteries, because I needed this…I felt that I needed this break maybe for my body and for my head.
“Right now, I’m more happy to be on the practice courts, I want to [be] more professional, [focus on] small details, and hopefully this can result in some good tournaments either here or maybe in the next ones.”